My wife and I have decided to install a tub surround around our tub (best place to put it!). We are planning on removing the tile and the drywall behind the tub and installing one of the surrounds that affixes directly to the studs (rather than a cheap glue-on surround). When we first bought our home, we considered having a complete one-piece insert installed, but the lady that came and took the measurements said we wouldn't be able to, due to the pocket door - I believe it was because the insert had a lip on the edge that would block the door.

My concern is the amount of space we have. We have a somewhat unique arrangement - as you can see in the pictures below, the end wall of the tub shares a wall with a pocket door. The pocket door slides into the wall behind the end of the tub. From the edge of the tile to the corner of the tile is 30 inches.

We also have a hall closet that shares the spout-side of the tub, so our tub is completely inset into an alcove area.

Click to embiggen

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I was looking at a surround like the one below, from Lowe's (I can't find the actual surround we were looking at in the store, but this is close): surround

They all say that that they fit areas 29-32 inches deep, so I think we should be able to remove the tile and drywall and install the surround. I am not entirely sure how deep the area is going to be once we remove everything down to the studs.

My two questions are - do you think we have enough space to install the surround (i.e., will the fact that the tub is in an alcove matter), and will I be able to install a surround with the pocket door "pocketing" right behind the end wall?

Edit: If it matters, I was planning on following the instructions I found here, sans the new tub installation.

  • You might be better off to knock out the hall closet, put the full one (or two piece) in and rebuild the closet a couple inches smaller. Drywall (waterproof!) and 2x4s are relatively cheap. Jan 21, 2011 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


Most tub enclosures, like the one pictured, use a 1/12 to 2" nailing flange down each side and along the top. They are also designed to be used with tubs that have an anti siphon lip along the wall parameter of the tub. It sure looks like you have very little extra relief between edge of tub/tile to the actual corner. In order for the surround to fit snugly to the wall, it must be secured using this nailing flange. I think that you may have to build out the edge of that corner, thus reducing the opening size of the pocket door by an inch or two. This would not be very difficult, but would require some extra finishing work and some changes to door trim etc. If this clearance issue is the same on the opposite side of the tub, the same procedure may be necessary. Also, if you find that your tub does not have the anti siphon lip, extra attention will be needed to seal this joint. If and when you get to the point of tearing out the tile wall, be sure to insulate the stud wall and cover it with a good 4 to 6 mil vapor barrier, tuck tape any joints and the sides and top. This will provide not only water protection, but give you some degree of sound deadening to adjacent rooms. Use only MR (moisture resistant) or paperless drywall to finish off around your new surround. A completely different approach might be to cover the existing tile with a glue on surround kit. Assuming the tile is secure, after carefully cleaning all soap residues and prepping the surface with a dewaxing agent, (isopropyl alcohol for example) trowel on adhesive and install the kit. There are actually some nice surface mount enclosures out there, usually five piece. the box stores typically only have one or two choices and are pretty cheap looking. Check out a specialty kitchen and bath supplier for a much better selection.

  • 1
    We actually ended up tearing out all of the old drywall and retiling the whole surround instead. You can check out the finished product at this question. Thanks for the advice! Mar 6, 2011 at 1:11

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